Date

1-4-2017 12:00 AM

Major

Psychology

Department

Psychology

College

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Project Advisor

Gary Wells

Project Advisor's Department

Psychology

Description

Researchers have recently voiced their concerns regarding bias in forensic testing. For example, fingerprint experts are brought a suspect sample and asked to confirm whether this sample matches the crime sample. Only if an expert determines a “match”, the same prints are sent to another expert to verify the match. So, if an examiner is asked to perform a verification evaluation, they know that another examiner already said that they match. This knowledge creates an expectation that the prints will match and biases the second examiner’s evaluation. We used fingerprint materials to test how much participants were biased to agree with a false previous participant’s decision planted in the experiment room. The previous participants’ judgment acted as a form of contextual information, similar to the experience by fingerprint expert, which can lead to biases. In this study, there was no significant effect of the planted match decision on the final match decision that participants made. However, confidence means were significantly higher when participants saw the prior participant’s sheet and made a decision consistent with the expectation created by the sheet. So, experts may express more confidence to authorities when confirming another individual’s decision, which may affect investigations.

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Apr 1st, 12:00 AM

Can knowledge of another person's decision bias fingerprint examinations?

Researchers have recently voiced their concerns regarding bias in forensic testing. For example, fingerprint experts are brought a suspect sample and asked to confirm whether this sample matches the crime sample. Only if an expert determines a “match”, the same prints are sent to another expert to verify the match. So, if an examiner is asked to perform a verification evaluation, they know that another examiner already said that they match. This knowledge creates an expectation that the prints will match and biases the second examiner’s evaluation. We used fingerprint materials to test how much participants were biased to agree with a false previous participant’s decision planted in the experiment room. The previous participants’ judgment acted as a form of contextual information, similar to the experience by fingerprint expert, which can lead to biases. In this study, there was no significant effect of the planted match decision on the final match decision that participants made. However, confidence means were significantly higher when participants saw the prior participant’s sheet and made a decision consistent with the expectation created by the sheet. So, experts may express more confidence to authorities when confirming another individual’s decision, which may affect investigations.